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NEWS STORIES

Teacher accused of selling pot got 'glowing recommendations' during hiring processSubmitted: 11/14/2013
Story By Lex Gray

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RHINELANDER - Police searched a Rhinelander High School teacher's house because they thought he had been stealing equipment from the school.

They say that's when they found 66 marijuana plants and a sophisticated grow operation. Since we reported that story last week, people have been asking how Joshua Juergens got hired in the first place.

"We got glowing recommendations," said superintendent Kelli Jacobi. "I don't know that those were all completely honest."

Superintendent Kelli Jacobi says the district did a background check on Juergens. That check turned up a record, as does a simple online search of Wisconsin's online court records.

In 2010, Juergens was convicted of disorderly conduct. In 1997, he was convicted of marijuana possession, both misdemeanors.

"We did know that there was a drug issue, a misdemeanor, I believe he was 19," Jacobi said. "We look at patterns in behavior. If something is a recurring thing in a background check, that definitely signals a problem."

But Jacobi says she can't factor certain convictions into the hiring process.

For now, Juergens is on unpaid leave from his teaching job. He'll stay in the Oneida County Jail unless he can come up with his $2,000 bail or get into a treatment facility.

He returns to court November 21.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
People Across the Northwoods are thankful for many thingsSubmitted: 11/27/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Aspects of your life that you are thankful for always seem to standout on Thanksgiving.

It did not take long to find people in Eagle River who were thankful for something's.

"I'm thankful I've got a house, I have a roof over my head I can eat every day, I have a job," said Eagle River's Brad Pagels. "There really isn't much I want for or lack for anything."

"I'm thankful for many many things but the one thing I can think of in particular is having the kindest wife in the world someone who I can love and respect for all my days," said Peoria, Illinois Native Ben Prichard.

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Madison police question benefits of body camerasSubmitted: 11/27/2014

MADISON - As a growing number of police departments nationwide equip officers with body-worn cameras, Madison police are issuing a report that questions some benefits of the devices.

Police plan to present the report to the Madison City Council on Tuesday.

The report notes that studies have shown departments that use the cameras have seen fewer citizen complaints. But it also says more research is needed to see if the cameras actually bolster trust in officers.

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List of holiday events around northcentral Wisconsin this weekendSubmitted: 11/27/2014

NORTHCENTRAL WISCONSIN - Here is a list of some of the special holiday events going on around northcentral Wisconsin this weekend.

FRIDAY
Boulder Junction
26th Annual Christmas
5-8 p.m.
Downtown Boulder Junction

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Lead found in City of Wausau drinking waterSubmitted: 11/27/2014

WAUSAU - Wausau Water Works recently found elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

Now they're asking homeowners to be cautious when using that water.

The city stopped installing lead service lines in 1965.

They stopped using lead solder in 1986.

Today most pipes are made of either copper or plastic.

Any home with lead service lines could have lead in its water.

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How you can "Go Green" this holiday season Submitted: 11/27/2014

RHINELANDER - Many people "go green" by recycling or riding a bike instead of driving a car to work.

You can also "go green" by shopping this year.

Green Tuesday asks people to buy gifts in their communities.

It also encourages you to keep the environment in mind when shopping.

That could mean buying organic toys or clothes or even meals from organic restaurants.

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Bundle Up program aims to keep families warm; how you can helpSubmitted: 11/27/2014

RHINELANDER - You can help families stay warm this winter by donating your extra winter clothing to the Big Bundle Up Campaign. Tourism groups across Wisconsin are looking for mittens, scarves, coats, and other winter gear.

"Those would be really helpful for a lot of people in the area," Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana DeMet said. "And I think the biggest challenge in the Northwoods is that it's just not as visible, so it's a little harder sometimes to garner that support if you are not faced with it on the streets every day."

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Chimney fire significantly damages Conover homeSubmitted: 11/27/2014

CONOVER - Firefighters blame a chimney fire for damaging a Conover home, according to the Vilas County Sheriff's Office.

The fire happened around 4:49 p.m. Thursday at 3950 E. Pioneer Rd. That's south east of Conover near Pioneer Lake.

The sheriff's office says the fire significantly damaged the house.

No one was hurt.

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